Below is a first look at five new and forthcoming books from RSF for fall 2023. The list includes Poverty in the Pandemic, a data-rich account of the challenges faced by low-income households during the COVID-19 pandemic and policies that have been proven to help them; Schooled and Sorted, an investigation into the ways student sorting in schools translates into inequality in the larger world; Overcoming the Odds, an innovative study of the benefits of completing college that compares life outcomes of college graduates with their college counterfactuals; Meanings of Mobility, an exploration of the experiences of low-income Latino youth attending highly selective, elite universities; and Stable Condition, an examination of the competing forces that shaped public opinion about the Affordable Care Act.
Three new issues of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences will also be released this fall, and include: a double issue on “Suburban Inequality,” which explores growing inequality in U.S. suburbs; “The Socioeconomic Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” an examination of how the pandemic and corresponding government response both reinforced and reshaped socioeconomic inequality in the U.S.; and a special double issue, “Administrative Burdens and Inequality in Policy Implementation,” which examines how policymakers and administrators can reduce inequality, boost civic engagement, and build a more efficient state that works for all citizens.
Fall 2023 Books
Poverty in the Pandemic: Policy Lessons from COVID-19
Zachary Parolin (Bocconi University, Italy, and Columbia University)
At the close of 2019, the United States saw a record-low poverty rate. At the start of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to upend that trend and plunge millions of Americans into poverty. However, despite the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, the poverty rate declined to the lowest in modern U.S. history. In Poverty in the Pandemic social policy scholar Zachary Parolin provides a data-driven account of how poverty influenced the economic, social, and health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., as well as how the country’s policy response led to historically low poverty rates.
Schooled & Sorted: How Educational Categories Create Inequality
Thurston Domina (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Andrew Penner (University of California, Irvine), and Emily Penner (University of California, Irvine)
We tend to view education primarily as a way to teach students skills and knowledge that they will draw upon as they move into their adult lives. However, schools do more than educate students – they also place students into categories, such as kindergartner, English language learner, or honor roll student. In Schooled & Sorted, Thurston Domina, Andrew M. Penner, and Emily K. Penner, explore processes of educational categorization in order to explain the complex relationship between education and social inequality – and to identify strategies that can help build more just educational systems.
Overcoming the Odds: The Benefits of Completing College for Unlikely Graduates
Jennie E. Brand (University of California, Los Angeles)
A Volume in the American Sociological Association’s Rose Series in Sociology
Each year, millions of high school students consider whether to continue their schooling and attend and complete college. Despite evidence showing that a college degree yields far-reaching benefits, critics of higher education increasingly argue that college “does not pay off” and some students - namely, disadvantaged prospective college goers - would be better served by forgoing higher education. But debates about the value of college often fail to carefully consider what is required to speak knowledgeably about the benefits –what a person’s life might look like had they not completed college, or their college counterfactual. In Overcoming the Odds sociologist Jennie E. Brand reveals the benefits of completing college by comparing life outcomes of college graduates with their college counterfactuals.
Meanings of Mobility: Family, Education, and Immigration in the Lives of Latino Youth
Leah Schmalzbauer (Amherst College)
Over the past twenty years, elite colleges and universities enacted policies that reshaped the racial and class composition of their campuses, and over the past decade, Latinos’ college attendance notably increased. While discussions on educational mobility often focus on its perceived benefits – that it will ultimately lead to social and economic mobility – less attention is paid to the process of “making it” and the challenges low-income youth experience when navigating these elite spaces. In Meanings of Mobility, sociologist Leah Schmalzbauer explores the experiences of low-income Latino youth attending highly selective, elite colleges.
Stable Condition: Elite’s Limited Influence on Health Care Attitudes
Daniel J. Hopkins (University of Pennsylvania)
Both before and after the contentious passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, political elites on both sides of the issue attempted to sway public opinion through two traditional approaches: messaging and policymaking itself. They operated under the assumption that the public’s personal experiences toward the law would make them more favorable. Yet these tried-and-true methods had limited influence on public attitudes toward the ACA. Public opinion towards the ACA remained stable from 2010 to 2016, with more Americans opposing the law than supporting it. It was only after Donald Trump was elected in 2016 and the prospect of the law being repealed became a reality that public opinion swung in favor of the ACA. If traditional methods of influencing public opinion had little impact on attitudes towards the ACA, what did? In Stable Condition, political scientist Daniel J. Hopkins draws on survey data from 2009 to 2020 to assess how a variety of factors such as personal experience, political messaging, and partisanship affected public opinion on the ACA.